Watching Celine Dion sing Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” on Friday’s We Will Always Love You tribute telecast on CBS was a complete sensory overload, cool cats. Before she performed, Celine sang a bit of “Saving All My Love for You” a capella. I was slayed right there.
Before launching into “Greatest Love,” she offered, “I can’t sing it like you, Whitney, but if I may, in celebration of everything you did for me and so many other artists by setting the bar so high, I’d like to sing one of my truly favorite Whitney songs…”
What was particularly surprising to me is that, with Celine now 44 years old, I am beginning to hear tonal differences in her voice. As is typical with most female singers, age brings a deeper richness to the low notes… Listen carefully as she sings the verse line “and if by chance that special place/that you’ve been dreaming of…” (at the 3:40 mark). So rich, with a new timbre that could only come with the maturing of her vocal talents.
Unfortunately, the other side of vocal maturation is that it can be dangerous for a singer—like Celine—renowned for scorching the clouds with high notes. My other fave vocalist Sheena Easton, whose soprano was always quite high, in fact, lost much of her upper range as she approached 50. God bless her, Sheena has had to reinterpret many of her hits when she performs live… For example, imagine the peak of “We’ve Got Tonight” where she sings, “Still here we are…” In other cases, she has dropped an octave to avoid the “screechy” effect…
For now, Celine has the best of both worlds. As she sings the peak notes (at 3:12), her voice remains masterful and signature-ready, thank god… (awesome little grunt at 2:35!)
In other Celine news: The Best of David Foster and Celine Dion has been released as an import collection. Good stuff. Hard to fathom that the pair has collaborated on as many as 17 songs…
And of course, Celine’s French-language album Sans Attendre (“Without Waiting”) was released November 2—her first Frenchie album in five years—and promptly debuted at No. 1 in Canada, France and Belgium. I’m still absorbing what appears to be a very restrained collection. Stand by for a review!
Meanwhile, the CBS special is being released on DVD December 18, just in time for holiday gift-giving! *
More screen shots from Celine below!!!